NASA Spinoff

Internet research can be compared to trying to drink from a firehose. Such a wealth of information is available that even the simplest inquiry can sometimes generate tens of thousands of leads, more information than most people can handle, and more burdensome than most can endure.

While NASA is preparing to send humans back to the Moon by 2020 and then eventually to Mars, the average person can explore the landscapes of these celestial bodies much sooner, without the risk and training and without even leaving the comfort of home.

Faster than most speedy computers. More powerful than its NASA data-processing predecessors. Able to leap large, mission-related computational problems in a single bound. Clearly, it’s neither a bird nor a plane, nor does it need to don a red cape, because it’s super in its own way. It’s Columbia, NASA’s newest supercomputer and one of the world’s most powerful production/processing units.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite navigation system developed and maintained by the U.S. Government. Though initially designed for military applications, GPS is also a public information service that protects the environment, improves productivity, and increases safety. It can be used as an instrument to map and survey boundaries; improve crop production; track storms and the spread of wildfires; and monitor any land movement and deformation of the Earth’s crust resulting from earthquake activity. It also offers navigational assistance for cars, airplanes, and boats. For example, cars equipped with GPS-based navigational systems can direct drivers to their intended destination points, steering them away from longer routes, traffic, and road construction, and preventing them from getting lost.

NASA missions are extremely complex and prone to sudden, catastrophic failure if equipment falters or if an unforeseen event occurs. For these reasons, NASA trains to expect the unexpected. It tests its equipment and systems in extreme conditions, and it develops risk-analysis tests to foresee any possible problems.

NASA missions are extremely complex and prone to sudden, catastrophic failure if equipment falters or if an unforeseen event occurs. For these reasons, NASA trains to expect the unexpected. It tests its equipment and systems in extreme conditions, and it develops risk-analysis tests to foresee any possible problems.

Preparing a vehicle and its payload for a single launch is a complex process that involves thousands of operations. Because the equipment and facilities required to carry out these operations are extremely expensive and limited in number, optimal assignment and efficient use are critically important. Overlapping missions that compete for the same resources, ground rules, safety requirements, and the unique needs of processing vehicles and payloads destined for space impose numerous constraints that, when combined, require advanced scheduling.

NASA's Metrics Data Program Data Repository is a database that stores problem, product, and metrics data. The primary goal of this data repository is to provide project data to the software community. In doing so, the Metrics Data Program collects artifacts from a large NASA dataset, generates metrics on the artifacts, and then generates reports that are made available to the public at no cost. The data that are made available to general users have been sanitized and authorized for publication through the Metrics Data Program Web site by officials representing the projects from which the data originated.

NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) acquires, archives, and manages data from all of NASA’s Earth science satellites, for the benefit of the Space Agency and for the benefit of others, including local governments, first responders, the commercial remote sensing industry, teachers, museums, and the general public. EOSDIS is currently handling an extraordinary amount of NASA scientific data. To give an idea of the volume of information it receives, NASA’s Terra Earth-observing satellite, just one of many NASA satellites sending down data, sends it hundreds of gigabytes a day, almost as much data as the Hubble Space Telescope acquires in an entire year, or about equal to the amount of information that could be found in hundreds of pickup trucks filled with books.

NASA Technology

An inch can make a world of difference. Which is why Garrett Finney moved the office coffee-maker into the full-size, cardboard mockup of the new trailer he was designing. The need for caffeine—and the threat of hot coffee accidentally dumped on a coworker—provided motivation and means for assessing the feasibility of a confined living space.

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